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The Legal and Ethical Case Against Drones

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China's Drone Swarms Rise to Challenge US Power

China is building one of the world's largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report.

The Chinese military — known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) — envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. China's military-industrial complex has created a wide array of homegrown drones to accomplish those goals over the past decade, according to the report released by the Project 2049 Institute on March 11.

"The PLA now fields one of the world's most expansive UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] fleets," said Ian Easton and L.C. Russell Hsiao, researchers at the Project 2049 Institute and authors of the new report.

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U.S. drone strikes violate Pakistan's sovereignty: U.N.

"It involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty," he said.

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Drone Nearly Collides with Commercial Airliner Over NYC; Feds "Know Nothing"

JFK Air Traffic Control to Alitalia Flight 608: Uh, what did you see?

Alitalia to JFK: We saw a drone, a drone aircraft.

JFK to Alitalia: What altitude did you see the aircraft?

Alitalia to JFK: About 1,500 feet.

That was the harrowing exchange from March 4 between an air traffic controller at New York City’s JFK International Airport and a commercial airliner about to land there.

The conversation and the close encounter take on an even more frightening aspect given the Obama administration’s claim that the president is empowered in an “extraordinary circumstance” to deploy drones to assassinate targets within the United States.

Despite several days of investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the FBI, there are still more questions than answers surrounding the drone sighting and the near collision over Queens in New York City, a borough with a population of over two million.

Some of the details of the event are known, however. When Alitalia Flight 608 was on its final approach about three miles from JFK runway 31R, the pilot saw a black drone powered by four propellers and about three feet in diameter. According to the pilot’s account of the sighting, the drone flew within 200 feet of the plane full of passengers.

Questions: Who was controlling the drone? Why was it flying dangerously close to a commercial jetliner? Who owns the unmanned aerial vehicle? Who issued the license? Who knew of its flight path?

The FAA is the federal agency charged with issuing licenses for domestic drone controllers, but it claims it knows nothing about the drone in question.

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US Air Force scrubs drone strike data from reports

As the US military continues to court scrutiny regarding drone use, the Air Force has stopped sharing information on the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan. Going one step further, it has removed those statistics from prior reports on its website.

The Air Force's Central Command began keeping track of drone weapon releases in October 2012, according to the Air Force Times. The move was described at that time as a bid to “provide more detailed information on [drone] ops in Afghanistan,” said Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender, the magazine reports.

Statistics were recorded as part of the policy for November, December and January. But when February's numbers were published on March 7, there was only a blank space where the drone statistics were normally placed.

And beyond that, the monthly reports posted to the Air Force's website had the drone data removed from them in recent weeks, with the data still being posted as late as February 16.

The data wipe comes as drone-use has fallen under close scrutiny in connection with the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA. Brennan faced fierce opposition in the Senate, though he was ultimately approved, because of his defense of drone use while acting as President Barack Obama's national security adviser.

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FAA takes major step in expanding drone use in America

US President Barack Obama has approved legislation that is expected to immediately accelerate the use of domestic surveillance drones within the United States.

On Thursday, Pres. Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, a bill that the Federal Aviation Administration’s AnneMarie Ternay describes as containing requirements for integrating unmanned aircraft systems and vehicles such as drones into the national airspace starting immediately.

With the president’s approval this week, the FAA has already begun soliciting proposals from cities across the country that are interested in becoming one of six soon-to-be established test sites where drones and UAVs will be sent into the sky as America takes the next step towards accepting the latest generation of aircraft.

The FAA says that locations in over 30 states have already showed interest in the program. Soon the agency will be tasked with picking a mere half-dozen locations so that drones can formally be introduced into official US airspace and not just strips of sky above designated areas.

Should the FAA stay on schedule, drones are likely to start flying regularly in the US by late 2015, and as many as 30,000 non-military UAVs are expected to be in the sky by the end of the decade. First, however, the FAA, drone builders and pilots will have to pick test sites to work out the kinks of a controversial aircraft.

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Chinese, Russian presidents agree to boost ties

2013-03-15

BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Newly elected Chinese President Xi Jinping talked with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by phone Thursday, with both sides pledging to strengthen ties.

Putin congratulated Xi on his election as Chinese president, saying the Russia-China relationship was of great significance as it was a major contributor to world peace and stability.

Putin said Russia was making active efforts to prepare for Xi's upcoming visit to Russia, and he believed the visit would further promote bilateral cooperation and humanistic exchanges as well as strengthen bilateral ties.

Xi said Putin called him by phone upon his election, which showed the Russian president highly valued China-Russia relations, adding he also attached great importance to the development of the China-Russia comprehensive relations of strategic cooperation and partnership, which would always be a priority of China's foreign relations.

Xi said China was willing to work with Russia to push their cooperation in various fields to a higher level.

The Chinese president added he was looking forward to meeting with Putin during his visit to Russia and exchanging views with him on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as on major international and regional affairs.

Xi also said he believed his visit to Russia would inject new vigor into the development of Russia-China relations.

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Iraq war cost US more than $2 trillion – study

The US war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with $490 billion more owed in benefits to combat veterans, a recent study revealed. The report found that total expenses in the unavailing conflict could balloon to $6 trillion over the next 40 years.

The study, conducted by the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, concluded that the accrued interest on the nearly $2.2 trillion in expenses would amount to some $4 trillion dollars during the coming decades, Reuters reports.

At the time of the 2003 invasion, the Bush administration estimated the war would cost between $50-60 billion.

Published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the March 19 US-led invasion of Iraq, the study also estimated the great human cost inflicted by the nearly decade long conflict.

At least 134,000 Iraqi civilians died as a result of the Iraq War, though the Watson Institute says the death toll could be up to four times higher. The report stated that with the inclusion of slain journalists, aid workers and insurgents, the base level death toll reached an estimated 176,000- 189,000.

A 2006 peer-reviewed Lancet study had found that 650,000 Iraqis – both combatants and civilians – had died up to that point. Other estimates had previously put total war deaths as high as 1 million.

An estimated 36,000 American military personnel were also killed or injured during the war.

Full report here

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Bradley Manning’s own words: blowing the whistle on war crimes

What would you do if you had evidence of war crimes? What would you do if ‘following orders’ meant participating in grave abuses that you opposed? Would you have the courage to risk everything – even your life – to do the right thing?

Bradley’s 35-page testimony last week detailed his time as an intelligence analyst in Iraq and how he concluded that the American public needed to see the United States’ secret abuses in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He deserves thanks, not jail time.

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Manning: US Army like ‘child torturing ants with a magnifying glass’ (FULL LEAKED TESTIMONY)

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Transport Apartheid: 'Palestinian Only' buses spark segregation roar

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Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

William Shepherd, chair of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association, whose members include both prosecutors and defence lawyers, said that the proposed use of a "truth drug" to ascertain the veracity of a defendant's plea of insanity was highly unusual in the US. He predicted it would provoke intense legal argument relating to Holmes's right to remain silent under the fifth amendment of the US constitution.

"If a defendant loses his right to remain silent because the court has authorised the use of drugs that make him talk, that would raise all sorts of fifth amendment issues that both sides would have to address."

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GOP senator reverses gay-marriage stance after son comes out

A prominent conservative senator said on Thursday that he now supports gay marriage.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters from the Columbus Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers that his change of heart on the hot-button issue came two years after his son, Will, told him and his wife that he is gay.

"It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have—to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years," Portman said.

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New TSA rules on knives draw fire from 9/11 kin


Editors note: "I'm flabbergasted," that there are still those that believe America was taken over by box-cutters, and almost 12 years later still haven't taken the time to study the FACTS surrounding the events of 9/11/2001 and still parrot the official fairy tale…

New TSA rules allowing small knives on planes draw fire from some Sept. 11 family members

NEW YORK (AP) -- Some family members of victims killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks said Wednesday that they are outraged by the Transportation Security Administration's decision to let passengers carry pocketknives on planes.

TSA Administrator John Pistole announced Tuesday that airline passengers will be able to carry pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide. Souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment also will be permitted starting next month.

The agency said the policy aligns the U.S. with international standards and allows the TSA to concentrate on more serious safety threats.

Unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers decried the change, and several relatives of people killed when terrorists hijacked four U.S. airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, criticized the move as well.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the World Trade Center. "I'm really disgusted by this latest news."

Regenhard said she recently had a container of yogurt confiscated by the TSA because it was a gel. "I'm just wondering why a yogurt is more dangerous than a penknife or a golf club," she said.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, said a pocketknife can be just as deadly as a box cutter, like the ones the hijackers used. Box cutters will still be banned under the new rules.

"When you're drawing a blade against someone's neck, they're quite lethal," Burlingame said. "This is bad news."

Burlingame said Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told interrogators that the hijackers each used "a Swiss knife," a brand of pocketknife, to butcher a sheep and a camel as part of their training. The transcript of the 2003 interrogation was part of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Burlingame suspects the TSA decided to allow folding knives because they are hard to spot. She said the agency's employees "have a difficult time seeing these knives on X-ray screening, which lowers their performance testing rates."

Asked to respond, a TSA spokesman reiterated that "the decision to permit these items as carry-on was made as part of TSA's overall risk-based security approach and aligns TSA with international standards."

Several relatives of those who died on United Flight 93, whose passengers tried to wrest control of the plane before it crashed in Shanksville, Pa., questioned the policy change.

"What's the difference between a pocketknife and a box cutter, for crying out loud?" asked David Beamer, whose son Todd led the Flight 93 revolt with the words, "Let's roll." ''I cannot see the upside to this."

Alice Hoagland, whose son Mark Bingham was another leader of the attempt to take back Flight 93, called it "a dreadful mistake to loosen the rules."

"We are increasing the chances of flight attendants and passengers being attacked while in the air," said Hoagland, a retired flight attendant. "This decision was made in order to make the TSA look a little better, to ease up on the standard so they won't have egg on their face."

Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and stepmother on Fight 93, said, "I have enormous respect for the great work of the TSA; however, I am concerned this may undermine overall counterterrorism vigilance and may well prove to be dangerous to future passengers and crew who will inherit the danger resulting from this decision."

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Microwave Warfare - Barrie Trower

Interview with Brittish Microwave expert Barrie Trower

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Screen Propaganda, Hollywood and the CIA

By Julie Lévesque

globalresearch

“One of the most pervasive trends in 21st century western culture has become somewhat of an obsession in America. It’s called “Hollywood history”, where the corporate studio machines in Los Angeles spend hundreds of millions of dollars in order to craft and precisely tailor historical events to suit the prevailing political paradigm.” (Patrick Henningsen, Hollywood History: CIA Sponsored “Zero Dark Thirty”, Oscar for “Best Propaganda Picture”)

Black Hawk Dawn, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, those are only a few major recent productions showing how today’s movie industry promotes US foreign policy. But the motion picture has been used for propaganda since the beginning of the 20th century and Hollywood’s cooperation with the Department of Defense, the CIA and other government agencies is no modern trend.

With Michelle Obama awarding Ben Affleck’s Argo the Oscar for best movie, the industry showed how close it is to Washington. According to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Argo is a propaganda film concealing the ugly truth about the Iranian hostage crisis and designed to prepare the American public for an upcoming confrontation with Iran:

Foreign policy observers have long known that Hollywood reflects and promotes U.S. policies (in turn, is determined by Israel and its supporters).   This fact was made public when Michelle Obama announced an Oscar win for “Argo” – a highly propagandist, anti-Iran  film.  Amidst the glitter and excitement, Hollywood and White House reveal their pact and send out their message in time for the upcoming talks surrounding Iran’s nuclear program [...]

Hollywood has a long history of promoting US policies.   In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information (CPI) enlisted the aid of America ’s film industry to make training films and features supporting the ‘cause’.  George Creel, Chairman of the CPI believed that the movies had a role in “carrying the gospel of Americanism to every corner of the globe.”

The pact grew stronger during World War II […] Hollywood ’s contribution was to provide propaganda. After the war, Washington reciprocated by using subsidies, special provisions in the Marshall Plan, and general clout to pry open resistant European film markets […]

As Hollywood and the White House eagerly embrace “Argo” and its propagandist message, they shamelessly and deliberately conceal a crucial aspect of this “historical” event.  The glitter buries the all too important fact that the Iranian students who took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran , proceeded to reveal Israel ’s dark secret to the world.  Documents classified as “SECRET” revealed LAKAM’s activities.  Initiated in 1960, LAKAM was an Israeli network assigned to economic espionage in the U.S. assigned to “the collection of scientific intelligence in the U.S. for Israel ’s defense industry” (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich Oscar to Hollywood’s “Argo”: And the Winners are … the Pentagon and the Israel Lobby)

For a real account of the Iranian hostage crisis, a CIA covert operation, Global Research recommends reading Harry V. Martin’s article published in 1995: The Real Iranian Hostage Story from the Files of Fara Mansoor:

Fara Mansoor is a fugitive. No, he hasn’t broken any laws in the United States. His crime is the truth. What he has to say and the documents he carries are equivalent to a death warrant for him, Mansoor is an Iranian who was part of the “establishment” in Iran long before the 1979 hostage taking. Mansoor’s records actually discount the alleged “October Surprise” theory that the Ronald Reagan-George Bush team paid the Iranians not to release 52 American hostages until after the November 1980 Presidential elections [...]

With thousands of documents to support his position, Mansoor says that the “hostage crisis” was a political “management tool” created by the pro-Bush faction of the CIA, and implemented through an a priori Alliance with Khomeini’s Islamic Fundamentalists.” He says the purpose was twofold:

Zero Dark Thirty is another great silver screen propaganda piece which spurred outrage earlier this year. It exploits the horrific events of 9/11 to present torture as an effective and necessary evil:

Zero Dark Thirty is disturbing for two reasons. First and foremost, it leaves the viewer with the erroneous impression that torture helped the CIA find bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan. Secondarily, it ignores both the illegality and immorality of using torture as an interrogation tool.

The thriller opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events.” After showing footage of the horrific 9/11 attacks, it moves into a graphic and lengthy depiction of torture. The detainee “Ammar” is subjected to waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and confined in a small box. Responding to the torture, he divulges the name of the courier who ultimately leads the CIA to bin Laden’s location and assassination. It may be good theater, but it is inaccurate and misleading. (Marjorie Cohn, “Zero Dark Thirty”: Torturing the Facts)

Earlier this year the Golden Globe awards made some analysts criticize Hollywood’s dark “celebration of the police state” and argue that the real Golden Globe winner  was the military-industrial complex:

Homeland won best TV series, best TV actor and actress. It IS a highly entertaining show which actually portrays some of the flaws of the MIIC system.

Argo won best movie and best director. It glorifies the CIA and Ben Affleck spoke with the highest praise for the CIA.

And best actress went to Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty, a movie that has been vilified for propagandizing the use of torture.

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The Military Industrial Intelligence Complex is playing a more and more pervasive role in our lives.  In the next few years we’ll be seeing movies that focus on the use of drone technology in police and spy work in the USA. We’ve already been seeing movies that show how spies can violate every aspect of our privacy– of the most intimate parts of our lives. By making movies and TV series that celebrate these cancerous extensions of the police state Hollywood and the big studios are normalizing the ideas they present us with– lying to the public, routinely creating fraudulent stories as covers for what’s really going on. (Rob Kall cited in Washington’s Blog, The CIA and Other Government Agencies Dominate Movies and Television)

All these troublesome Hollywood connections have been examined in an in-depth report Global Research published in January 2009: Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood. The article lists a great number of movies in part scripted for propaganda purposes by the Defense Department, the CIA and other government agencies. It is interesting to note that this year’s Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck cooperated with the CIA in 2002 as he starred in The Sum of All Fears.

Authors Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham explain that compared to the CIA, the Department of Defense “has an ‘open’ but barely publicized relationship with Tinsel Town” which, “whilst morally dubious and barely advertised, has at least occurred within the public domain.” Alford and Graham cite a 1991 CIA report revealing the sprawling influence of the agency, not only in the movie business but also in the media where it “has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation.” It was not until 1996 that the CIA announced it “would now openly collaborate on Hollywood productions, supposedly in a strictly ‘advisory’ capacity”:

The Agency’s decision to work publicly with Hollywood was preceded by the 1991 “Task Force Report on Greater CIA Openness,” compiled by CIA Director Robert Gates’ newly appointed ‘Openness Task Force,’ which secretly debated –ironically– whether the Agency should be less secretive. The report acknowledges that the CIA “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,” and the authors of the report note that this helped them “turn some ‘intelligence failure’ stories into ‘intelligence success’ stories, and has contributed to the accuracy of countless others.” It goes on to reveal that the CIA has in the past “persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests” [...]

Espionage novelist Tom Clancy has enjoyed an especially close relationship with the CIA. In 1984, Clancy was invited to Langley after writing The Hunt for Red October, which was later turned into the 1990 film. The Agency invited him again when he was working on Patriot Games(1992), and the movie adaptation was, in turn, granted access to Langley facilities. More recently,The Sum of All Fears (2002) depicted the CIA as tracking down terrorists who detonate a nuclear weapon on US soil. For this production, CIA director George Tenet gave the filmmakers a personal tour of the Langley HQ; the film’s star, Ben Affleck also consulted with Agency analysts, and Chase Brandon served as on-set advisor.

The real reasons for the CIA adopting an “advisory” role on all of these productions are thrown into sharp relief by a solitary comment from former Associate General Counsel to the CIA, Paul Kelbaugh. In 2007, whilst at a College in Virginia, Kelbaugh delivered a lecture on the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood, at which a local journalist was present. The journalist (who now wishes to remain anonymous) wrote a review of the lecture which related Kelbaugh’s discussion of the 2003 thriller The Recruit, starring Al Pacino. The review noted that, according to Kelbaugh, a CIA agent was on set for the duration of the shoot under the guise of a consultant, but that his real job was to misdirect the filmmakers, the journalist quoted Kelbaugh as saying [...] Kelbaugh emphatically denied having made the public statement. (Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham, Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood)

During the Cold War the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) agent Luigi G. Luraschi was a Paramount executive. He “had secured the agreement of several casting directors to subtly plant ‘well dressed negroes’ into films, including ‘a dignified negro butler’ who has lines ‘indicating he is a free man’”. The purpose of these changes was “to hamper the Soviets’ ability to exploit its enemy’s poor record in race relations and served to create a peculiarly anodyne impression of America, which was, at that time, still mired in an era of racial segregation.” (Ibid.)

The latest award-winning movie productions show that the Manichean view of the world put forward by the US foreign policy agenda has not changed since the Cold War. The Hollywood-CIA alliance is alive and well and still portrays America as the “leader of the free world” fighting “evil” around the world:

The interlocking of Hollywood and national security apparatuses remains as tight as ever: ex-CIA agent Bob Baer told us, “There’s a symbiosis between the CIA and Hollywood” […] Baer’s claims are given weight by the Sun Valley meetings, annual get-togethers in Idaho’s Sun Valley in which several hundred of the biggest names in American media –including every major Hollywood studio executive– convene to discuss collective media strategy for the coming year. (Ibid.)

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Masonic Compass and Pentagram: The Royals’ Secret Symbols Hidden in Plain Sight

21st Century Wire says… Top news story on the BBC and most UK mainstream media outlets last week was that the Queen of England, who turns 87 next month, caught a stomach bug but was released from royal King Edward VII hospital smiling and well.

Note that this is the very same royal hospital which produced a dead administrative worker before Christmas 2012, one Jacintha Saldanha, the alleged victim of a prank Australian radio prank. It was revealed that innocent Jacintha was not the main subject of the Aussie radio prank as she merely passed the phone over to someone else on staff, and was not ‘traumatised’ or depressed – as the press campaigned to the public, further fueling speculation that she was ‘suicided’ (killed) in order to send a message to public not to meddle in royal life, or to fulfill some other unknown purpose. Was it really a suicide? What was her motive? Will we ever know?

Upon the Queen’s release, a photograph of her next to her nurse reveals – and proves, what many have speculated over the years, that there is in fact a secretive satanic and masonic culture which operates in and around Britain’s Royal Family. Notice the belt buckle of the Queen’s medical minder in the photo below, adorned with the symbol of the 5 tipped star pentagram along with the masonic compass.

Full report here

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A short Ode To Hugo Chavez - Morris

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Venezuela accuses US of having infected Chavez with cancer virus

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro has announced the expulsion of two US embassy officials for allegedly spying on the country’s military, accusing Washington of having infected late President Hugo Chavez with the cancer virus.

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The British Banned Guns On Our Founding Fathers & It Brought About A Revolution

Many today don’t realize that we are facing the same sort of tactics by our own Federal government that our forefathers faced from the British just prior to the War for Independence. In fact, I’ll venture to guess that most people never were taught in school what follows in this article. That’s right, gun control is nothing new now, nor was it even new in the twentieth century. It was very much alive in the eighteenth century. So when someone comes along telling you “the founding fathers wouldn’t have envisioned this or that” with regards to arms, just remind them of what they faced during their lifetimes when the primary weapons were single shot muskets and cannons.

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